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Overseas wedding, considering cancelling - AIBU??

84 replies

bonbonpixie · 19/06/2013 00:46

So DH, DD and I are off to Australia for 5 weeks later this year. We made the decision to go to coincide with a really good (ha!) and old friends of mine wedding. As it happens my father lives in Melbourne and DH has many friends in Sydney but the wedding is being held in Brisbane, a city which I'm sorry to say I've never warmed too- so we'd not be going anywhere near it, if not for this wedding. The Bride and I have been friends for 15 years, since meeting at school and even although she moved back to Australia 5 years into the friendship we made a huge effort to see each other over the years. We went traveling together, and holidayed all over the place together. So pretty close. She was a bridesmaid at my own wedding. However in the last few years life has understandably taken over. Career, mortgages, babies (me) so I don't have the time to go galavanting off like we used to. I haven't physically seen her for three years, but we still chat, text etc. Her fiancé and I have never met. Also DD will be 16 months when we arrive.

Anyway so as the wedding date approaches we receive our invite. So......the ceremony doesn't begin until afternoon 2:30 and then.... It's a cocktail reception at a hotel bar from 7. No meal. No food being served of any kind. I must admit when I read this I was a bit disappointed. As we would have to find a restaurant nearby to feed DD (and ourselves) as the hotel they are using doesn't have one!?
Today however she told me they are having a meal but its only for the wedding party and if this wasn't insulting enough she has texted me that the hotel cocktail bar, where there reception is being held, has a no child policy!!!

I am so angry with her. Essentially we are only invited for an hour and half ceremony. I am stunned. In her text she said that she still wants us to spend a week before the wedding in Brisbane so I can attend her bachelorette party and generally catch up. But DH thinks that if she doesn't want us at the meal and as its impossible really to go to the cocktail reception then we should fly from Sydney in the morning and leave the next day? Would doing this make me a terrible person?
I know it's her wedding and she can do whatever she chooses but she knows that if it wasn't for her wedding we would be doing this trip at Christmas so DD could spend it with my family. As it stands we have just taken on a huge restoration property and will not have the money to do a Christmas trip for a few years.

Also it isn't a child free wedding at all. As I understand it, lots of children will be in attendance. She will be having 2 flower girls under the age of 3 (not family). The wedding is a small one 40 people maybe. It's not a money issue as their honeymoon is lavish.

I guess I'm really upset because I thought out friendship meant more to her, and if it was just me going I would do it her way. But I have DH and DD to consider and it's their holiday too. If we do just fly in for the ceremony I have no idea how to tell her without making it very obvious that I'm upset- help!!

OP posts:

MortifiedAdams · 19/06/2013 00:54

Asking your friend to fly to the other side of the country just to go to a ceremony is rude. You are travelling to the other side of the world!

One.of DHs friends is from SA and we invited him all even though other friends who we see.more.often were only invited to the evening - I wouldnt ask someone to travel all that way to attend a thord of the event.


PuggyMum · 19/06/2013 00:54

I have to agree with your dh and even go one step further and probably not go. Although that would be a difficult subject to broach.

The fact you've travelled half way round the world you'd be guest of honour at my wedding.



MidniteScribbler · 19/06/2013 00:56

Yanbu to be upset and ywnbu to decline.

Yabu to diss my home town.


InViennaWeWerePoetry · 19/06/2013 00:56

If there are other children invited, what are their parents doing for childcare? How on earth can you have children at a wedding held partly at a venue with a child free policy? Confused What does she expect everyone else to do while the wedding party are eating? Sounds bizarre.


Pancakeflipper · 19/06/2013 00:59

Think I would just skip Brisbane and just get on planning the 5 weeks to suit you.


NatashaBee · 19/06/2013 01:00

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell · 19/06/2013 01:04

Ooh, that's not great at all, and definitely you wouldn't be being unreasonable to skip a week in Brisbane catching up with her, given that that's the only reason you'd be there.

For perspective, my brother got married recently, in the States. The wedding wasn't explicitly non-child, but it was very child-unfriendly, because it was an evening cocktail thing on a boat. But I flew from Australia to be there, so not only was my four year old invited, but she was the flower girl, in an otherwise no-bridal-party wedding. I realise it's different, because it was my brother, but they took it for granted that you accommodate people who have travelled a long way to be there.


Tortoiseonthehalfshell · 19/06/2013 01:05

I also think it's much more unusual, in Australia, to have a meal for only some guests and then a "b-list" evening reception, although I know that's regularly done in England. So it's ruder than you think.


Longdistance · 19/06/2013 01:09

I had a friend invite me to her civil ceremony, all good except dd's weren't invited, and it was similar to your friends wedding as we were invited to the ceremony and then not invited to the dinner, but drinks in the evening.
Bearing in mind I'd have had to travel from Oz to the Uk for this, I kindly declined the offer even though I've known her 20 years.
So, yanbu to it even want to go, let alone to the hen do.


lisianthus · 19/06/2013 01:29

YANBU. But there's another aspect to it which you won't have picked up on as you are from the UK.

Australian weddings have a few differences to UK weddings. From what I understand of UK weddings, they are usually three-part affairs, with the ceremony, then a meal (the "wedding breakfast"), then an evening party. Many guests aren't invited to all three parts, with some invited to just the "evening party". This isn't seen as rude, just a way of accommodating B list guests more cheaply.

This is not at all an Australian custom. Weddings are usually two-part affairs here- just the ceremony and a party, which may or may not involve a sit down meal. All guests are invited to both parts and anything else would be very rude indeed. Costs are kept down if necessary by having a cheaper party, an afternoon tea or drinks and snacks say, rather than a full meal. There is only a very small gap between both parts, in which the photos are taken.

What they are doing is very odd indeed. Usually, if you wanted to have a separate special meal with the wedding party only, you'd do it on a separate day (and would tend to invite people who had made a special effort to get to the wedding from overseas). With this and the no children cocktail venue, I'd be pretty insulted and not be going at all. Make it a family holiday instead and skip Brisvegas.


lisianthus · 19/06/2013 01:30

Or whattortoise said more succinctly!


MidniteScribbler · 19/06/2013 01:36

As others have said, this would be seen as the height of rudeness in Australia. Some people may skip the meal, but it would mean having the service then start the cocktail party straight away. None of this meal for some and not others malarky.


prissyenglisharriviste · 19/06/2013 01:48

We turned down an invitation to fly our family of 5 back to the UK from Canada so that two of us could attend a child free wedding. I was slightly stunned that they expected us to schlep out five grand (conservative estimate) and then find a babysitter. They didn't mention it was child-free until a month before the ceremony. Fortunately, we were waiting for back-pay before we booked our flights. . I would happily have flown us all back so the kids could see their godfather married. No way I was spending all that money for three kids to be completely banned.

I actually think people don't put themselves in other's shoes - it probably hasn't even crossed her mind what she's actually intending you to do. Same with the folk that invited us.


ChippingInWiredOnCoffee · 19/06/2013 02:33

How good a friend has she been over the years?

It all sounds a bit odd, however, if you would go along with it if you didn't have DD & DH then I think you should. It is your friends wedding, surely DH can look after DD for the parts she can't attend?

She wants to see you the week before the wedding and have you at her Hen party etc... it seems silly to miss out on being there just because the reception isn't child friendly and they aren't having a big sit down meal for everyone.

You were going to Aus anyway - so going at a different time isn't that big of a deal surely?

OR - why don't you go just for the wedding this year (for a week/10 days) and all go next Christmas?


Tortoiseonthehalfshell · 19/06/2013 02:40

Chipping, you want the OP to fly to AUSTRALIA, with a 16 month old, for a week? And then do it again in a few months? Do you know the sheer and absolute hell that flying that sort of distance with a 16 month old would entail? Not to mention the cost!


ChippingInWiredOnCoffee · 19/06/2013 02:49

No - I don't want the OP to do anything. I was simply making a couple of suggestions... and if you had read my post properly you would have seen that I suggested she goes for her friends wedding this year and they go as a family next year.

... and yes. Having done the flight many times myself I am all too aware of what the flight is like :)


Tortoiseonthehalfshell · 19/06/2013 02:53

Right, so, leave a very young toddler for ten days in order to attend a wedding, when she's not even invited to the wedding meal. Yep, that's a fair balanced response.

(Have you done the flight with a young toddler?)


ChippingInWiredOnCoffee · 19/06/2013 03:02

If the OP goes alone, she might be able to go to the meal. She will see her friend for a week and be at the Hen party, she will be there for the build up & for the wedding.

A lot of parents work away for 10 days - it's not the end of the world.

... and yes, I have done the flight with a toddler, but when I'm not suggesting that's what she does I fail to see why that's relevant?

I'm also a little unsure why you are getting so arsey about it?


Want2bSupermum · 19/06/2013 03:06

Send her a gift and tell you can't come. I would make the gift a book on manners.

I don't get these people and their weddings. We put our guests up in hotels, fed them the night before, day of and the day after our wedding. We had two weddings too.


MidniteScribbler · 19/06/2013 03:07

If the friend was such a great friend she would have sent aproper invitation to someone she is expecting to fly half way across the world. If she can't be arsed making an effort, why should th OP leave children behind, travel for 24 hours each way and spent several thosand dolars for the privilege of being treated like a second class guest?


ChippingInWiredOnCoffee · 19/06/2013 03:15

It is either worth it to her to go or it isn't.

It is her choice.

One that those of us who have loved ones and friends both here & in Australia are familiar with having to make on a regular basis. Which events you are able and willing to make sacrifices and plans for and which you aren't.

I didn't say she should - I said she could.


GilmoursPillow · 19/06/2013 03:27

I would decline politely on the grounds it is unworkable with your family situation, and if you haven't booked flights already I would book them for a family visit at Christmas instead.


Lavenderhoney · 19/06/2013 03:37

Do you think you will ever see her again after the wedding? Because to stay for a week to get included in hen parties and then a frankly odd wedding arrangement will be expensive and she will be very caught up ( quite rightly) with her friends and family, with little time for you and yours. You might regret all that money and effort.

You have 3 options ( so far)

  1. Change your plans and go at Christmas so your DD can meet her family in Australia. You could always invite your friend and her new dh for a weekend where you will be if you are there for a few weeks. Or fly to them.

2. Go and just you fly to the wedding the day before, stay for the wedding and fly back next day. Tell her you want your dd to spend her time with her family and dh has kindly offered to stay with her whist you go to the wedding.

3. Say you can't go. Send a lovely present instead. Tbh, its a long way, very expensive and impacts your life financially for a few years and emotionally nt being able to see family plus its spare cash you need.

I would pick 3. You don't live near each other, you hardly see each other and its a big ask- she isn't family and personally with how lives change
and you have already noticed a drop off off sharing and communication.

Quite normal, I am an expat and experience this. Things move on. You have to be practical and there is a recession on and you need the money for other things.

SquinkiesRule · 19/06/2013 05:28

I'd cancel and go for Christmas instead.


EhricLovesTeamQhuay · 19/06/2013 05:35

I wouldn't go. No way. Can you cancel without losing loads of money?

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